UGLY Drinks, the UK’s first unsweetened, 100% natural, fruit-infused sparkling water, has announced the completion of a multi-million-dollar financing round with investors including Pentland Ventures and Steadman Partners (owned by Martin Dickie, the founder of BrewDog), amongst others.
With the new investment, the British born brand will focus on expanding its presence in Europe, US sales and marketing, product innovation and its D2C business, strengthening its reach globally. The investment follows rapid growth in the UK, with 3000 new stockists secured in 2019. UGLY will hit the 5 million can milestone in the UK before the end of the year.
UGLY Drinks, which is the brainchild of co-founders Hugh Thomas and Joe Benn (both previously at Vita Coco), launched in the UK in 2016 and fast became the top selling seltzer brand, bringing the US thirst for ‘seltzer’ to the UK.
A year ago UGLY launched in the US, and is growing at pace having established a strong early retail foothold, a thriving e-commerce business and a growing base of Millennial and Gen Z consumers. Globally UGLY has seen 300% YOY growth.
Hugh Thomas, CEO and Founder of UGLY said: “This is a really significant fundraise for us, and will be instrumental in taking the business to the next level. The investment will not only help us to establish ourselves further in more competitive markets like the US, but strategically build our presence in Europe. We’ve had a phenomenal start to our journey, and are really pleased to have such a fantastic team behind us as we move forward into new territories and innovations. Recent wins with Sainsbury’s and the prestigious Tesco Incubator means we will be working closely with key retail partners to spread the ‘UGLY Truth’.
“When we launched in the UK, UGLY was pioneering the sparkling water category, since then we’ve seen more than 15 brands follow suit and come to market. Consumers were immediately struck by our branding and packaging. Our bold colours and signature UGLY tongue truly get people’s attention. Our great taste and flavour range keep them coming back. We’re now proud to be taking on the established brands in the US, where people are connecting to UGLY Drinks’ British origins, bold 1980s street art-inspired look and no sugar, no calorie message.”